Former Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, maintained, during an Iftar he held Friday in the Rashid Karame International Fair, in honor of families from Tripoli and Koura, that the newly elected municipality members in the northern capital were his brothers, vowing cooperation for the sake of the city.
“Dear friends from Tripoli and Koura, Peace be upon you. Peace be upon Tripoli, that is dear to my heart, that faced incitement and expelled from its ranks the tools of evil, destruction and displacement. Peace be upon Tripoli’s martyrs, its youth and heroes and those who remained in its neighbourhoods and faced the campaigns of deceit, and arbitrary prosecutions, and clung to their faith despite torture in jails and unjust sentences. Peace be upon the houses and arenas that shook off the dust of wars and battles to remain the symbol of the city’s dignity and national and Arab identity,” he said in his address.
“We gather today at the Rashid Karame International Fair and we salute Martyr Premier Rashid Karame, a national Arab leader from Tripoli and an exemplar of the statesman who paid his life to defend the values of coexistence and national unity. These are the values that you carry through your diversity, in your churches, mosques, in the names of your streets, your habits and your traditions,” he added.
“Let me get start directly by the topic of the municipal elections. I am not here to admonish you. I am here to express my respect to you, your votes and your will. We are from the school of democracy and when Tripoli elects its municipal council, we cooperate with it for Tripoli’s interest. Let me tell you this: all members of the new municipal council are my brothers and friends and Tripoli’s interest is above any consideration,” he underlined.
“Tripoli’s loyalty to the path of Future Movement and martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri cannot be questioned, reviewed or re-evaluated,” he said.
“Tripoli will never deviate from its path. It gave Rafic Hariri when it was forbidden for Rafic Hariri to give Tripoli anything. And to anyone trying to trivialize the relation between us and Tripoli and present it as a relation of interest, I say: You, in Tripoli, don’t owe us anything, we owe you,” he added.
“I am here to say to each citizen who voted for this list, or that list, or stayed home and withheld his voice: I heard you; I got your message and I am responsible of it. Our understanding of politics is to serve the people, their expectations and aspirations. We did not enter politics for the sake of positions, gains or money,” he explained.
“Our name is Hariri: Our position is martyrdom, and we lose our money in politics. We see politics as a tool to serve you, to serve our people in Koura, Tripoli and all over Lebanon. You hold us responsible and we do not evade this. We are responsible of our people. This is the core of national Harirism. And since there is a trend today, and everybody is explaining to us the meaning of national Harirism and the thought of Rafic Hariri, to the extent even of calling on Saad Hariri to return to Harirism and to Rafic, let me tell you what Rafic Hariri said,” he stressed.
“At the end of 2004, after the assassination attempt on Minister Marwan Hamade, journalist Ghassan Charbel asked Premier Hariri a clear and direct question: What do you expect in the coming period? I will read to you Rafic Hariri’s answer: It is a period that requires wisdom, patience and foresight from everyone. It is a difficult period. Let me summarize the issue of concessions by making a comparison. There is a kidnapped civilian plane and you can’t free the passengers by force so what do you do? My answer is that the priority is to save the passengers safely. Saving Beirut and Lebanon in itself is a punishment to the kidnappers.
This is the answer of Rafic Hariri,” he recalled.
“Isn’t this our situation and the situation in our country today? Yes, the plane is still hijacked and my duty and responsibility is to do what Rafic Hariri would have done: save the passengers and ensure their safety. The kidnapper will not be able to continue, and the plane will soon land safely in Rafic Hariri International Airport and the kidnapper will be held responsible. This is our school and this is our responsibility,” he said.
“Someone has a different approach, which is to break the plane’s window or explode the cockpit or kill the captain or throw himself from the air at 30 thousand feet? This is his opinion and he is free to have it. But he should stop involving the name of Rafic Hariri in his political upstaging and stop attacking the Hariris in the name of Rafic Hariri,” he continued.
“And to all those who suddenly became experts in Rafic Hariri, Harirism and its principles, a small reminder: Every time Rafic Hariri was asked about the most important thing in the world, he answered: Honesty! And what is the basis of honesty? Loyalty… just as a reminder and I am sure you did not forget!” he went on to say.
“Dear friends, we are at the service of Tripoli and not vice versa. And when we put ourselves at the service of Tripoli, we serve moderation and stability all over Lebanon. Here I want to say something about moderation: There is an ongoing attempt for many years now to accuse the Sunnis in general and Tripoli in particular of extremism,” he corroborated.
“Part of this attempt is a breach trying to present moderation as being a weakness. In fact, moderation is not a weakness, it is strength; real strength. The moderation that faces terrorism, discord, and barbarism is strength. The moderation that saved Tripoli and all Lebanon from the black fate that our brothers in Syria are facing is strength and not weakness. The moderation that adheres to the project of the state and that hangs on to its stances even when having a dialogue is strength and not weakness,” he said.
“When I am a moderate, I am one of the one billion and 500 million Muslims in the world who believe that their religion is the religion of moderation; this is strength and not weakness. Moderation in Lebanon allowed the Lebanese army to beat the incitement of Fateh al-Islam that was sent by the criminal Bashar Assad. Moderation in Lebanon brought the criminal Michel Samaha back to prison; Samaha who was sent by his criminal boss in Syria to ignite sectarian discord in Lebanon. And the one who saved us from this criminal is the hero of Koura and all of Lebanon Martyr Wissam Hassan,” he added.
“The one who kills is the weak one, and the one who demands justice and truth is the strong one, the moderate one. Moderation brought the Special Tribunal to Lebanon and got the Syrian regime out of Lebanon when all moderates from all Lebanese regions and sects took to the street on March 14, 2005. This is the real strength and this is moderation. So let no one tell us that moderation is a weakness and let no one try to picture you as extremists,” he considered.
“Tripoli was never and will never be a breeding ground for extremism and terrorism. But neither you nor us will accept that this beloved city be an economic quagmire. This city has been living on the despair line for many decades, and it is time to mobilize all efforts to end this injustice and place it in an advanced position on the national revival map,” he said.
“In this Holy month we renew the pledge and tell you that the revival of this city is our duty. I, at the head of the Future Movement, with all the loyal people of the city, will be at the forefront of the revival campaign so that Tripoli becomes once again a beacon on the Mediterranean Sea,” he indicated.
“I pledge to exert all possible efforts and ensure all capabilities, through the state and its institutions and the private sector and its investments, to launch national works in Tripoli that will include the fare, the port, the old souks, the shores and the islands. We will work to put the city on the national and Arab economic map. Tripoli is fed up with promises, it needs a decision to execute the development projects,” he promised.
“You all know that we support the biggest project in the history of Tripoli, and its execution started: the Tripoli Special Economic Zone. This project is not isolated. It includes a railroad, roads network that connects Tripoli to the Syrian depth to the north and the east, and the port of Tripoli. All these projects will be executed and this will make Tripoli, its port, its merchants, workers and youth, a platform for rebuilding and ensuring goods for Syria and Iraq when the political solution in Syria and Iraq becomes possible. And I am telling you: the political solution is coming and this means that Syria will get rid of the Bashar Assad nightmare! And Tripoli should prepare itself to play a historical role. I am not the one saying this, but Ban Ki-Moon and the World Bank are saying it. Everyone looking at the geographic and human resources map is saying it. We have to resist, preserve stability, work and plan for the future, which is a promising future,” he concluded.
Source: National News Agency